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The Torah and Its Relevance for Today. Introduction What do we teach when we separate the “Old Testament” from the “New Testament” with a title page in our English Bibles?

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the torah and its relevance for today

The Torah and Its Relevance for Today

introduction
Introduction

What do we teach when we separate the “Old Testament” from the “New Testament” with a title page in our English Bibles?

1. There are 2 covenants. I.e. Replacement / Covenant theology

2. “Old” means “antique”, “fragile”, “frail” or “something worth putting on a shelf to be admired. “New” means “relevant”, “up to date” or “that which speaks to my life”. I.e. Dispensationalism

Did Yeshua and His disciples teach that the Tenach or Old Testament as passé and their teachings as replacing the irrelevant older Scriptures?

1. Matthew 5:17-20

2. Hebrews 10:28-29

Introduction
matthew 5 17 20
Matthew 5:17-20

17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

19 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-20
hebrews 10 28 29
Hebrews 10:28-29

28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:28-29
the new covenant jeremiah
Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,

32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.

33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

34 "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

The New Covenant - Jeremiah
the new covenant jeremiah1
Notes:
  • The New covenant is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. (Jeremiah envisions the unity of the nation of Israel.)
  • The New covenant is contrasted with the Mosaic covenant. The contrast is NOT 2 different ways of salvation or 2 different ways of worshiping God, but between rebellion and submission, between stubbornness and faith in God.
  • Therefore, what is “new” about the “new covenant” is that for the first time in Israel’s history, the whole nation at once will have the Torah written on a heart of flesh and will espouse the covenant through genuine faith.
The New Covenant - Jeremiah
the old covenant apostolic scriptures
2 Corinthians 3:14

14 But their minds were hardened ; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

  • The term, “old covenant” is found only 1X in the Apostolic Scriptures – i.e. 2 Cor 3:14. None in the Tenach.
The Old Covenant – Apostolic Scriptures
the new covenant apostolic scriptures
Luke 22:20

20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

1 Corinthians 11:25

25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

2 Corinthians 3

6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit ; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 11

25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood ; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

The New Covenant – Apostolic Scriptures
the new covenant apostolic scriptures1
Hebrews 8

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.

8 For finding fault with them, He says, "BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH ;

9 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT ; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.

The New Covenant – Apostolic Scriptures
the new covenant apostolic scriptures2
Hebrews 8

10 "FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD : I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

11 "AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.

12 "FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE."

13 When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete [rendered inoperative]. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

The New Covenant – Apostolic Scriptures
the new covenant apostolic scriptures3
Hebrews 9:15

For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 12:24

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

  • The term, “new covenant” is found 1X in the Gospels (Luke), 3X in the Corinthian epistles and 4X in the book of Hebrews.
The New Covenant – Apostolic Scriptures
the covenants apostolic scriptures
Notes
  • Notice Paul is contrasting his ministry with that of Moses, even as Jeremiah did. Moses’ ministry was met with rebellion and disobedience by the people not because the message was wrong but because the very heart of the Torah, the Messiah, was veiled to them. And it was veiled to them because they lacked faith to believe.
  • Paul’s message is the same as that of Moses but the difference is in the success of his ministry as contrasted with that of Moses, was the work of the Spirit illuminating the hearts of His chosen ones, and the removing of the veil so that they could see Messiah.
The Covenants – Apostolic Scriptures
the covenants apostolic scriptures1
Notes
  • Dr. Robert Rayburn, The Contrast between the Old and New Covenants in the New Testament (Doctrinal Thesis, University of Aberdeen, 1978)

– “In our view then, if the two covenants are interpreted according to the sense of the entire section (2 Cor 2:14-4:16), it becomes clear that the distinction between the new covenant and the old covenant has nothing to do with the distinction between the situation before Christ came and the situation after or between the religion and revelation before Christ and that after. It is rather the distinction between flesh and Spirit, between the old man and the new man, between death and life, between condemnation and righteousness and between guilt and forgiveness of sin”

The Covenants – Apostolic Scriptures
the relevance of the torah for today
Numbers 15:16

16 'There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.' ”

Notes

  • Under Moses, God never had two laws for the nation, one for Israel and one for the alien. Instead, those who want to join themselves to the God of Israel will have to follow the Torah even as Israel did.
  • If that being the case, one wonders about the teaching where under the new covenant, Jewish believers are to keep the Torah while Gentile believers are exempt from it.
The Relevance of the Torah for Today
the relevance of the torah for today1
Malachi 4:4-6

4 "Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

5 "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.

6 "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

Notes

Malachi, who prophesized both the first and second coming of Messiah, exhorts his readers to remember (i.e. to keep or do) the law of Moses prior to the Lord’s coming.

The Relevance of the Torah for Today
the relevance of the torah for today2
Acts 15:13-21

13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, "Brethren , listen to me.

14 "Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.

15 "With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 'AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT,

17 SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,'

18 SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO.

19 "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

21 "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

The Relevance of the Torah for Today
the relevance of the torah for today3
Notes
  • It is unfortunate that the decision of the Jerusalem council does not take centre-stage in most sermons today as preachers, teachers etc dismiss the relevance of the council’s ruling. They forgot that the council’s decision is paramount to Gentiles joining the community of Jewish believers in worshiping the God of Israel.
  • Three of the four rulings involve food which most preachers today dismiss as unimportant.
  • The rulings do not stipulate that these are the only ones Gentiles have to follow. Rather, in the context of idolatry, these are important because it shows how one has made a clean break from idolatry and the pagan world to follow the one true God. Thus, it is more acceptable for Jews to accept Gentiles in the synagogues. The rest of the commandments can be learnt from the Torah as these incoming Gentiles coming Sabbath after Sabbath (Acts 15:21).
The Relevance of the Torah for Today
the festivals
Colossians 2:16-17

16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—

17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but [“for]the substance [soma = body] belongs to Christ.

Notes

These verses can be interpreted 2 ways:

1. You as Gentiles, who are not keeping the dietary laws or festivals, do not let the Judaizers judge you for not doing so.

2. You, the Colossian church, who are already keeping the dietary laws and festivals, do not let others judge you for doing so.

Which interpretation is correct? Remember, Colossians was written after the Jerusalem council.

The Festivals
the festivals1
1 Corinthians 5:7-8

7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Notes:

Paul’s exhortation to a predominantly Gentile church to celebrate the Passover / Unleavened Bread with sincerity and truth.

The Festivals
the festivals2
Hebrews 4:9

9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

Notes:

  • The word “Sabbath-rest” is the Greek word sabbatismos which means a keeping / observance / celebration of the Sabbath.
  • So therefore, Hebrews 4:9 clearly teaches a keeping of the sabbath for the people of God at the present time until the day we enter God’s rest in the context of Hebrews chapter 4.
The Festivals
the dietary laws
Acts 15

19 "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

21 "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagoguesevery Sabbath.”

Comparison with the Torah:

Lev 7:26 'You are not to eat any blood, either of bird or animal, in any of your dwellings.

Lev 22:8 'He shall not eat an animal which dies or is torn by beasts, becoming unclean by it; I am the LORD.

The Dietary Laws
the dietary laws1
Isaiah65:4; 66:3, 17

65:4 Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots.

66:3 "But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog's neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine's blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations,

66:17 "Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, Following one in the center, Who eat swine's flesh, detestable things and mice, Will come to an end altogether," declares the LORD.

The Dietary Laws
the ceremonial laws
Acts 21

18 And the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.

19 After he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

20 And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;

21 and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.

The Ceremonial Laws
the ceremonial laws1
Acts 21

22 "What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.

23 "Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow;

24 take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.

25 "But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication."

26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them.

The Ceremonial Laws
the ceremonial laws2
Notes:

Paul clearly kept the Torah, helping others fulfill the Nazarite vow. This clearly goes against the teaching that Paul is anti-Torah. But to say that the Torah is for the Jews and grace is for Gentiles is to say that God has double standards for His people. For the Torah clearly says that there is to be one Law for the native (Israelite) and the alien (Gentile).

The Ceremonial Laws
the ceremonial laws3
Jeremiah 33

17 "For thus says the LORD, 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;

18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.'"

19 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,

20 "Thus says the LORD, 'If you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time,

21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers.

22 'As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'"

The Ceremonial Laws
the ceremonial laws4
Notes:
  • Jeremiah 33 emphasizes the continuity of God’s covenant with David and the Levites at the same breath. So if we think that God is finished with the Levites and the Levitical system of worship based on the book of Hebrews, then God is obviously finished with David and His house which is clearly not the case.
  • We have got to re-study Hebrews and see the real intent of the author, rather than read what Western commentaries say about the Levitical system.
  • The mis-understanding is due in part of the failure to appreciate that the 2 priesthoods will be exist when Messiah comes – 1/ the non Aaronic Melchizedekian priesthood and 2/ the Levitical priesthood.
  • Ezekiel 44 describes the Levitical priesthood in operation during the Millennium.
The Ceremonial Laws
one nation under god jew and gentile
Notes:
  • Some may think that the Torah is for the Jews while Gentiles are under grace. As emphasized before, there is one Torah for both Jew and Gentile. Under God’s kingdom, He is the King and the land He rules is the land of Israel and the people He rules over is the nation of Israel – Jew and Gentile.
  • Under Moses, a mixed multitude (Israelites, Egyptians and others) went out of Egypt. So God’s plan for His kingdom has always included Gentiles right from the very beginning.
  • What about the new covenant then? Are we under a new entity called the “church”?
One Nation Under God – Jew and Gentile
one nation under god jew and gentile1
Acts 7:38

38"This is the one (Moses) who was in the congregation[= ekklesia] in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.

Notes:

  • The word “ekklesia” is not uniformly translated in the English Bible because of anti-Semitic prejudice. Elsewhere it is translated “church”. According to Stephen, the “church” already existed during the time of Moses as referring the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt.
  • If the “church” and the nation of Israel can be used synonymously, how does this square with Jeremiah 33 where the new covenant is clearly stated as a covenant with the nation of Israel and Judah?
One Nation Under God – Jew and Gentile
one nation under god jew and gentile2
Genesis 48:19

19 But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know; he (Manasseh) also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations [melohhagoyim]."

Q: If all of God’s people belong to a certain tribe under the nation of Israel, which tribe do Gentiles belong to?

A: The tribe of Ephraim. This was the mystery of Jew and Gentile in one body that was hidden in the Torah but was revealed to the Apostle Paul.

One Nation Under God – Jew and Gentile
one nation under god jew and gentile3
Revelation 21

10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels ; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.

13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.

Q: If the people of God were to enter the new Jerusalem to meet God, they will have to go through one of these gates. Which one of these gates are you going to enter by?

One Nation Under God – Jew and Gentile